Candidate Profile

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Law & The Courts
Royalty & Monarchy
John has had a variety of careers. He began his working life as an Observer in the Royal Navy’s Fleet Air Arm. There then followed 20 years in the financial services industry. Upon leaving the industry in his 50s he qualified as a solicitor and then Notary Public.

Whilst running his own practice John pursued an interest in constitutional law and obtained a Doctorate from the University of Plymouth in 2013. The thesis focused on the position of the Duchy of Cornwall and the status of the Prince of Wales in United Kingdom law. His work has resulted in changes to the United Kingdom Constitution, two enquiries by Select Committees of the House of Commons, interviews on the radio, including Radio New Zealand, and television and numerous press articles.

As well as pursuing his "serious" legal work he has devoted time to documenting those areas of law in the United Kingdom and throughout the world which are peculiar, odd, bizarre, eccentric and the frankly ridiculous. For example the Judge in the USA who claimed in her defence to a criminal charge she was "insane" but continued to sit in judgement. Or the Italian Mayor who issued an edict stating it was illegal to "pass from the earthly life to the afterlife". The local priest said the ordinance was "problematic"!!

A particular enthusiasm are traditional Royal Appointments. Did you know there is a "Official Washer of Hands to the Sovereign" or someone who has the obligation to count the Sovereign's Chess Pieces and place them in a bag after a game? John has given many talks on these subjects including once, of which he is particularly proud, while travelling up the Mekong River.

John has written and published a number of books including “This Miniature Nation” an exploration of the legal position of the Isles of Scilly, “An Introduction to the Laws of the Duchy of Cornwall, the Isles of Scilly and Devon”, “Peculiar Laws, Ancient Customs and Curious Courts”, "A Compendium of Legal Nonsense" and "A Miscellany of British Traditional Customs, Ancient Laws, Eccentric Ball Games and Royal Appointments". Articles written by John have appeared in numerous journals and he continues to assist journalists, MP’s and members of the House of Lords.

Although now retired, John continues with his academic researches, lecturing and giving talks. Of course the search for legal oddities never ends.

(Click images for full size)
1 A Compendium of Legal Nonsense
This is a collection if bizarre and frankly ridiculous legal cases from around the world. It includes, for example, the Indian civil servant who had been paid for 24 years but had not worked during the while of that time,the woman who sought a divorce because her husband had not spoken to her for fifteen years and had communicated entirely by post it notes the Parisian burglar who sought to rob an antiques dealer while wearing a 15th century suit of armour and the man they tried and failed to hang three times.

2. Legal Issues for Silver Surfers (or anybody really)
This talk is intended to help the “more mature” to address issues which, based on my experience of advising and assisting clients, are those areas giving rise to most concern. It includes some “Do’s and Don’ts”, consideration of Powers of Attorney, Care Home Fees, Making a Will and dealing with Estates. On a lighter note it also incorporates some more unusual cases like the man who wanted to preserve his late father’s bottom, the man who claimed to own part of the moon and the case of the 17 elephants.

3. Queen Elizabeth II – One Head Many Crowns
Of how many countries is the Queen, the Queen? What is the difference between the United Kingdom, Britain, Great Britain and the British Isles? What is a “Crown Dependency” and are Orkney and Shetland part of the United Kingdom? What is the difference between Queen Elizabeth II and Mrs Elizabeth Windsor, Mother, Grandmother and Great Grandmother.

4. The Rights and Obligations of the Sovereign
What are the duties of the “Washer of the Sovereign’s Hands” and what does the “Grand Carver of England” do? Does the Queen own all the land in England and Wales and why does the City of Gloucester send the Queen an Eel Pie and Great Yarmouth 24 “herring” pasties? How much rent does the Isle of Sark pay annually? What does Crown Immunity mean? What is the Royal Prerogative? Can the Queen break the law and does she “own” the Royal Navy? These and other questions are considered.

5. The Heir to the Throne – An Impossible Job?
The legal text books are clear the Heir to the Throne is a private citizen and a subject of the Crown yet he or she must stand ready to become sovereign at any time. So does the sovereign in waiting have any special privileges and obligations? This talk considers the issues. The presentation will also explore the vexed question "Are Charles and Camilla legally married?" and "Can Camilla ever be Queen?".

6. A Compendium of Legal Nonsense
This continues the talk from above and considers who judges the judges, including the Judge who was a drug dealer and at the same time conducting drug deal, a judge who sued a dry cleaner for $65 million for losing his trousers and various vexatious litigants.

7. Strange Laws, Curious Traditions and Ancient Courts
Is it illegal to be drunk in a pub? Why a London Cabbie cannot carry a corpse, what are you not allowed to do on a pavement and what are Crown Roads (where are they and what are you allowed to do on them)? The talk considers why the USA bans the import of Haggis, why Spanish Butchers may not sell a rabbit without its head and why you cannot get cremated in Greece. Also explained is the “Wenlock Olympic Games”, the Tichborne Dole and the Blessing of Throats.

8. Princess Diana - Accident or Murder
This talk consider the various theories surrounding the death of Princess Diana.
The following recent Cruise History has been recorded for this candidate.
Black Watch W1602 Around the World 116 Southampton Friday, January 8, 2016